Academic Writing Complete Guide

Purpose and Audience of this Guide
Why read academic articles?
Essay Writing
Report Writing
Oral Presentations
Finding Sources
Good Academic Scholarship
Understanding Feedback
Exam preparation and Techniques


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Dissertation writing

When you are on the verge of writing your dissertation, it means you are on the homestretch of your academic career. This paper is meant to demonstrate your skills and ability to conduct research in your area of study, presents the results using an original piece that provides the value for the academic and scientific fraternity.

Definition

This is the presentation of the ultimate results of an independent research for a scholar program. When it comes to the thesis, it is presented for the award of a master’s degree. The term dissertation has also been used as the ultimate project presented by Ph.D. students before they gain their doctoral degree. Regardless of whether it is a Ph.D. or masters, this assignment is similar in many ways, although when it comes to Ph.D., it is more serious. This information will help you who is about to write your Ph.D. or MA dissertations.

Students can start with so much enthusiasm, but it wanes due to the intimidating nature of this assignment. Some students throw in the towel because they are not sure of how they can complete this task. The most complex stages will involve planning, researching and writing and they need maximum dedication. The result will be rewarding, but serial obstacles abound.

Common problems students face when writing their dissertation

  • Procrastination
    If you think there is plenty of time to write your dissertation and you keep delaying your project, you will only have yourself to blame. Stress and anxiety creep in when the deadline approaches and that does not mean you will do an excellent job. You need to start your project early enough so that you can dedicate time for adequate revision. You also get enough time to research on your topic.
  • Inadequate research skills or lack thereof
    Those students who do not have enough experience with academic writing think that they will just need to collect a few relevant sources for their topic. This is not the case. A dissertation requires in-depth research, a comprehensive analysis of the materials, findings and an eloquent discussion in your paper, a dissertation is not something you can research on superficially. You have to prepare well for your topic if you want to deliver a professional academic paper.
  • Inability to write well
    Lack of good writing skills is another problem that students grapple with especially when it comes to academic writing. Since dissertations are academic writings, it is important that you follow the strict rules that are there to produce an excellent paper. Students who lack good writing skills find it hard to write a dissertation. It has to conform to the right format, style, as well as language. You should also utilize the right citation guidelines to enhance the credibility of your paper.

Although these challenges are there, that does not mean you cannot write the paper systematically. With consultations especially from your supervisor, you will remain on the right track if you want to produce a good dissertation.

The role of your dissertation supervisor

Your academic supervisor is supposed to oversee what you are doing and provide necessary recommendations to your work. He is not supposed to do it for you. A supervisor comes in handy especially when you are stuck somewhere. However, since they have a stake veiled in their supervisory role and the need to protect their reputation through the results, they can help you get better marks.

You do not have to shy off from asking for help from them and you stand to gain since academics hold personal approach to supervision in high regard. There are those willing to spend time with you talking about your planning or research and the emerging findings. Others will have very little time with you apart from when they will be reading your draft.

It is important that you build a good relationship with your supervisor. It is also crucial you discuss and clarify with them on whatever they are prepared to support you in especially in practical details such as

  • How often they are going to meet with you during the research period
  • How quickly they are going to respond to your emails seeking their advice or guidance
  • The time they will need to review your draft. There are institutions which usually say ‘a first draft’ but many academics are ready to read a preliminary draft to check that you are on the right track, then you can go ahead and prepare a more polished version

If you do not get on well with your supervisor, it is recommended that you change them. This should be done as early as possible. No one wants you or your supervisor to struggle with your relationship. They will not be very sympathetic especially if you are looking to change your supervisor a month before the deadline for your paper.

Writing the dissertation proposal

Before you receive the green light to carry out research, you have to write a proposal for your dissertation project. This is meant to persuade th4 committee member that you are ready to commit to a valuable, interesting, and complex questions. It is usually shorter than the final dissertation but equally important since you have to think of a significant amount of information to include in your paper.


  • Choosing your question
    When you are choosing your question, pay attention to the following aspects:
  • The problem that your dissertation is going to handle
    Importance of the research to the academic and scientific fraternity
    Importance of finding a suitable solution to the problem
    The process that you are going to use to search for the answers

Structuring your dissertation proposal

If you want your dissertation to become effective make it easy and lean to follow using this format:


  • Dissertation title
    This is where you write the title of your dissertation
  • Objectives
    Come up with at least three objectives and try to narrow down your focus
  • Literature
    Find out if you are supposed to list some specific reference in this section. If not, ensure you mention at least three areas of study, school of thought and other sources of information that you intend to use during the research stage.
  • Research
    This is the major section that you use to elucidate on your ideas for the research question you are handling. You have to clearly outline the areas of research.
  • Methodology
    Your project can be empirical or non-empirical. When it is empirical, you collect data through questionnaires and other methods. When it is non-empirical, your sources come from previously published projects. This is the section where you explain the methods of data collection.
  • Potential outcome
    You have an idea of where your research will take you once you analyze the data. You have to explain the results that you expect to reach.
  • Timeframe
    Formulate a schedule that shows how you will manage the entire process within a specific timeline.
  • List your references
    Find out if you are supposed to include this section.

Writing the final dissertation


Create an outline

Once you have the proposal you can formulate an outline for your larger project. If there are new points you have come across furring your research, you can include them. Your outline should look like this:

  • The introduction
    This is the first chapter that ought to include the background of the problem as well as your thesis statement. You also have to clarify the purpose of your study and the research question. It is followed by a clear definition of terms that relate to your project. Your assumptions and expectations of the results must also be included.
  • Literature review
    This is where you review the research process and crucial acknowledgments that you have inferred. You are also required to review some of the literature that relates to your research question in this section.
  • Methodology
    In the dissertation, this section focusses on the way you located the resources and methods of implementing the results. If it is a qualitative analysis, you have to expose the research questions, the setting, participants, data collection, and the data analysis process. If it is a quantitative analysis, you have to provide the research question and the hypothesis, information concerning the population and sample, instrumentation, data collection, and analysis.
  • Findings
    This is a crucial stage in the entire dissertation writing process. it showcases your intellectual capacity. You are supposed to restate the research questions and discuss the results you have found and the direction to which they led you. In other words, you are answering the research questions.
  • Conclusions
    Summarize the study and briefly report your results. Explain how your findings make a difference in the academic fraternity and their application. You can include recommendations for future research on the topic.
  • Bibliography
    Use the preferred style of citation and referencing in your area and include all the sources you have used in the dissertation writing process.

If you follow the above outline, you will definitely write a very comprehensive dissertation. Once you are done, check for any mistakes, correct them and submit your paper.


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